How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs in Your Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Bedbugs are problematic for millions of Americans every year as the tiny bugs will feed on blood, creating a home inside mattresses and other furniture. Unfortunately for most people, when they think of killing bugs, they imagine a rigorous process of using pesticides and chemical solutions, which often fail to live up to standards or worsen the bed bug problem. However, there are plenty of DIY and professional solutions that kills bed bugs, and one of the ways you can get rid of them is if you learned how to use Diatomaceous Earth for bedbugs.

What is Diatomaceous Earth, and How Does it Work?

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural repellant making it a safer alternative to the potentially harmful products to eliminate any bed bug infestation. It is a chalky and fine powder that has been made from fossilized single-cell algae called diatoms, full of silica, and is made from lapidified water plants. These diatoms are made with a chemical compound known as silicon dioxide, and they are found in all-natural elements in some quantity from plants, rocks to humans. Therefore, using diatomaceous earth is a great technique to eliminate bed bugs without spending much money on bed bug exterminators.

Diatomaceous Earth kills the bed in a simple way where the tiny crystals that have made the powder usually have sharp edges, and these sharp edges usually help to attach the bed bug powder to the bed bug's outer shell, causing the bed bugs to dry out and will die eventually of dehydration.

In addition, apart from killing bed bugs, diatomaceous earth can be used in many medical and industrial uses, for example, to improve the health of teeth, skin, hair, nails, or bones, to treat high cholesterol, and also it is effective in pest control as Diatomaceous Earth kills similar insects such as beetles, lice, fleas, spiders, mites and roaches.

Best Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs

1. HARRIS Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, 10lb with Powder...
  • Natural Product - Composed of 10lbs of 100% ground freshwater...
  • OMRI Listed - Listed with the Organic Minerals Research...
  • Powder Duster Included - Powder duster in the bag for easy and...
  • Supports a Great Cause - Harris donates 10% of profits to support...
  • Made in the USA – Mined in Nevada and packaged in Georgia

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth is a 10-pound bag with an included powder duster that can help you use the powder on animal feed, and it helps with easy application. The powder duster makes it easy to use for non-health-related tasks, and it does not contain any chemicals or added additives fillers.

The food-grade diatomaceous earth is sourced from freshwater from Nevada and is also processed in the United States, mainly in Nevada and Georgia. Once you see any bed bug symptoms, you can use this powder for pest control and improve your health and your pet's health.


  • Easy to use with direct instructions.
  • 100% pure as it is free of harmful chemicals and additives-free.
  • It comes with a scoop to pick the powder.
  • The packaging is convenient.
  • Meets the FDA standards and is listed with OMRI.


  • The included duster is not of the best quality and creates a messy airborne powder.
  • It will easily clump if it's not used properly.

2. DiatomaceousEarth DE10 Food Grade

DiatomaceousEarth DE10, 100% Organic Food Grade...
  • Diatomaceous earth you can trust - Our obsession to create the...
  • The only official supplement - we are the only producers of food...
  • 100% organic - all of our products are certified organic by the...
  • Nature's most diverse product - diatomaceous earth is an amazing...
  • Wholly produced in the USA - our entire process from mining to...

diatomaceous earth DE10 is an OMRI-listed diatomaceous earth powder meaning it is 100% organic, and the high-quality product is mined, filtered, packaged, and produced in the United States. It uses stainless steel equipment for processing to prevent any contamination making the diatomaceous earth safe for internal use and consumption.

Apart from fighting bed bugs, DiatomaceousEarth DE10 can be used for other applications, such as a health supplement to pet care and as an anti-caking agent for animal feed and eradicate any pest problems. Notably, because it comes in a 10-pound bag, the packaging might be sometimes unwieldy, but the size also brings the product's price lower than other products.


  • Being a 10-pound bag, it is very cost-effective.
  • Easy to use as it has clear instructions.
  • The processing uses stainless steel equipment, making it safe for internal consumption.
  • No contaminants or unwanted additives.
  • User-friendly and eco-friendly bag.


  • The bag could be unwieldy when scooping a single teaspoon.
  • Lacks an applicator which may make it hard to apply.

3. Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth Ant and Crawling Insect Killer

Safer 51703 Diatomaceous Earth-Bed Bug Flea, Ant,...
  • Diatomaceous earth-based powder is a highly effective ant killer;...
  • Kills insects by ingestion/dehydration within 48 hours indoors or...
  • Also for bed bug, cockroach, flea, earwig, silverfish, cricket,...
  • Insects cannot develop an immunity to this product unlike...
  • Formula contains 100% Diatomaceous Earth

Safer 51703 Diatomaceous Earth bed bugs powder is one of the best choices for insect control, being highly effective, and comes in a 4-pound resealable bag. When you leave the diatomaceous earth applied on where the bed bugs live, it will kill bugs by ingestion and dehydration within 48 hours, both indoors and outdoors.

Thanks to the Safer 51703 formula containing 100% diatomaceous earth, the blood-feeding insects will not develop immunity against this product, unlike traditional insect killers. Therefore, it is not only an effective bed bug control but can also be used for other pests such as flea, cricket, cockroach, earwig, millipede, and centipede control.


  • Specific solution for insect control.
  • It is 100% pure with no harmful additives or chemicals.
  • Resealable bag to prevent pouring.
  • The powder can be used for both indoors and outdoors purposes.


  • It is not a food-grade quality, and hence it is not very versatile as other formulas.
  • The application can be messy.

Methods to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Bed Bug Infestation

There are three methods you can try for applying Diatomaceous Earth to kill bed bugs, and they include:

a). Powder Duster

The powder duster is one of the most popular ways the diatomaceous earth is applied. You have to load the powder into the duster's tank and then press on the chamber to distribute the powder over the entire room evenly. You can easily control the spray and can pour the highly concentrated power directly over the bugs and repeat the process every three days for maximum effect.

b). Flat Paint Brush

This method is not suitable for treating large trees, but it is great for getting rid of bed bugs hiding in bed frames, box springs, cracks, and crevices of your bed. Using a paintbrush to apply diatomaceous earth will allow a user to use it sparingly and get rid of bed bug infestations effectively. It's a great idea to use a paintbrush first before trying the duster method because it can lead to a targeted application on live bugs and kill more bed bugs.

Ensure the entire affected area is treated with a thin dust layer to ensure the bed bugs and other bugs will not escape the powder leaving your home free of bed bugs.

c). Wet Application

The wet application method is where you mix the diatomaceous earth with some water on a ratio of 1:4, then spray the mixture over your bed frame and box spring with any sprayer type. Notably, since the powder will only work when dry, the wet application method is suggested only when the two above techniques have failed to reduce the bed bug bites.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs

Diatomaceous earth is a powder that can be used in a few different ways, and since it's not liquid, you will need to spray it over all areas that could be affected to prevent bed bugs from hiding anywhere. While diatomaceous earth works great to prevent infestations in bed bugs and is simpler than other methods, the best usage is alongside a heat treatment. You should do this whenever possible.

Below are some six steps you can use to get rid of bed bugs with diatomaceous earth, and it's important to bug-proof your home by sealing any places that bed bugs could enter, such as crevices and cracks. It is also recommended to follow the steps to minimize the chances of re-infestation

a). Use a Steam Cleaner on your Home

Steam cleaning is important as bed bugs cannot survive temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a few hours. Ensure you steam clean your furniture and clothes thoroughly to increase the temperature.

b). Wash All Your Fabrics

You should put all your clothes through a wash in extremely high or cold temperatures and dry them on high heat. When dry, store them in sealed plastic bags or sealed containers as a preventative measure.

c). Vacuum Your Entire Home

Vacuum cleaning should be done everywhere from carpets to all the furniture in your house. When vacuuming your carpets, preferably also use a carpet cleaner to eliminate any bed bugs from carpeting. You should try to dismantle all your furniture as much as possible, vacuuming every surface.

Pay attention to the internal wood frame, furniture frames, and seams and ensure you reach the tight spots with your vacuum hose attachment. You can reassemble your furniture after the thorough vacuum and also try using a total encasement mattress cover for your bed.

d). Apply Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth kills bed bugs and is also a prevention measure, and you should apply Diatomaceous Earth by first floating the infested areas. Then use an applicator to apply diatomaceous earth in drawers, cracks, along with door jams and windowsills, and molding.

Ensure you remove all your electrical faceplates and use the applicator to puff diatomaceous earth behind your electrical outlets and switches. Then cover your mattress with a thin layer of diatomaceous earth and try to work it into the furniture, carpeting, and mattresses with your bare hands.

e). Clean Up

It is advisable to leave the diatomaceous earth applied as long as you can, and even though it's not a pretty look, it will create a protective layer against bed bugs and ensure your home doesn't get re-infested. Leaving the diatomaceous earth powder for a long is important because even though diatomaceous earth can kill bed bugs after several hours, it may take a while before they are exposed. Also, the diatomaceous earth only affects adult bed bugs, and hence you have to apply it long enough to allow bed bugs to hatch, and after some weeks, you can wipe it off and vacuum.

How Often Do You Apply the Diatomaceous Earth Bed Bugs Formula?

You should repeat the above steps as much as needed, especially if the bed beds persist. Repeat the above steps without losing hope until the bug problem subsides. Ensure you follow the above steps in all parts of your home, and repeating the necessary steps helps to break and minimize the infestation cycle and prevent future infestations.

Notably, it is easier to eliminate individual insects, but a full infestation may take a while before it disappears. Therefore, it's advisable to reapply the diatomaceous earth about once a week every month until you achieve full control of your house again.

What are the Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth?

1. It is an all-natural formula derived from fossilized remains called diatoms, and it's a non-toxic and safe-to-handle solution that can also be used to deworm pets.

2. Diatomaceous Earth is a desiccant that kills safely by destroying the bed bug shell and causes death by dehydration, and doesn't contain any dangerous compounds.

3. It is a non-resistant solution, and the bed bugs and crawling insects cannot develop resistance as they do with some pesticides

4. It is a mechanical barrier meaning it can act as a physical barrier to any bed bug, and most bugs will avoid crawling through the layer

5. Even though diatomaceous earth work can be seen after a few days because it's slow-acting, it is along with a lasting solution

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will it take for diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs?

Diatomaceous earth does not work immediately and takes a while to work, and you can try to check them every couple of weeks. Notably, according to some users, the bed bugs don't die immediately and might take around 7 to 17 days to die after getting in contact with the powder. Notably, because diatomaceous earth scratches the outer waxy layer of bed bugs when they crawl over the powder, they have learned to avoid the powder.

2. What is the main difference between food grade and pool grade diatomaceous earth?

Pool grade, also known as filter grade, is diatomaceous earth that uses high heating in the process known as calcination, and the process converts silicon dioxide to crystalline silica. However, pool grade diatomaceous earth is toxic and should be used only in filtration.

On the other hand, the food-grade diatomaceous earth packs less than 1% crystalline silica and less than 10mg/kg of lead or arsenic.

3. How Often Do Bed bugs eat?

Bedbugs usually survive up to a year without a blood meal, but the newly hatched bed bugs will immediately search for a blood meal and need five significant feedings to get to adult size. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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